Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 10, No 3 (2013)

Bringing morals to life – Professionals’ use of morals in German care planning conferences

Heinz Messmer
Issued Date: 12 Dec 2017

Abstract


Theory and practice of social work are highly morally grounded. As a basically helping profession, social work practice is closely linked to the idea that it will contribute to improving the lives of its clients. Social work practice is grounded in the various values of a societal order (social justice, individual rights, rights of religious freedom, human dignity, etc.), which are transformed into ethical standards that are used to structure normative expectations regarding the activities of professionals.
Empirically, however, moral issues in social work practice often appear in a quite different way. Based on a conversation analysis of audio-taped discussions between professionals and clients in German care-planning conferences, this study emphasizes how morals are established primarily in a practical sense. By regarding morals as a sign of respect or disrespect, it is shown that professionals make use of morals to assess a client’s behaviour in either a positive or a negative way. Furthermore, it is argued that morals in social work practice primarily respond to the overall interactional asymmetries of a client–professional encounter. In addition, they also reflect the basically deficit-oriented case descriptions of the professionals to establish the case in a less threatening way.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/japl.26893

References


AvenirSocial (2010) Berufskodex Soziale Arbeit Schweiz. Ein Argumentarium für die Praxis der Professionellen. Bern: AvenirSocial


Banks, S. (1995) Ethics, Accountability and the Social Professions. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.


Banks, S. (2008) Critical commentary: Social work ethics. British Journal of Social Work 38 (6): 1238–1249. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcn099


Bergmann, J. R. (1998) Introduction: Morality in discourse. Research on Language & Social Interaction 31 (3–4): 279–294. https://doi.org/10.1080/08351813.1998.9683594


Brown, P. and Levinson, S. C. (1987) Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Buttny, R. (1993) Social Accountability in Communication. London: Sage.


Clark, C. (2006) Moral character in social work. British Journal of Social Work 36 (1): 75–89. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch364


Cromdal, J. and Tholander, M. (2014) Morality in professional practice. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice 9 (2): 155–164. https://doi.org/10.1558/japl.v9i2.25734


Drew, P. (1991) Asymmetries of knowledge in conversational interactions. In I. Marková and K. Foppa (eds) Asymmetries in Dialogue, 29–48. Hemel Hempstead, UK: Harvester Wheatsheaf.


Enfield, N. J. (2011) Sources of asymmetry in human interaction: Enchrony, status, knowledge, and agency. In T. Stivers, L. Mondada and J. Steensig (eds) The Morality of Knowledge in Conversation, 285–312. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921674.013


Gergen, K. J. (1994) Realities and Relationships: Soundings in Social Construction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Hall, C., Juhila, K., Matarese, M. and van Nijnatten, C. (eds) (2014) Analysing Social Work Communication: Discourse in Practice. London: Routledge.


Hall, C., Parton, N., Juhila, K. and Pösö, T. (eds) (2003) Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services. London: Jessica Kingsley.


Hall, C., Sarangi, S. and Slembrouck, S. (1997) Moral construction in social work discourse. In B.-L. Gunnarsson, P. Linell and B. Nordberg (eds) The Construction of Professional Discourse, 265–291. New York: Longman.


Hall, C., Sarangi, S. and Slembrouck, S. (2006) Language Practices in Social Work: Categorisation and Accountability in Child Welfare. London: Routledge.


Heritage, J. (1984) Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press.


Hitzler, S. and Messmer, H. (2010) Group decision making in child welfare and the pursuit of participation. Qualitative Social Work 9 (2): 205–226. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325010372156


Hitzler, S. and Messmer, H. (2015) Formen der Berücksichtigung. Interaktive Praxen der Ein- und Ausschließung im Hilfeplangespräch. In Kommission Sozialpädagogik (ed.) Praktiken der Ein- und Ausschliessung in der Sozialen Arbeit, 173–193. Weinheim, Germany: Beltz/Juventa.


Hydén, L. (1994) The social worker as a moral worker. Applying for money – the moral encounter between social workers and clients. In B.-L. Gunnarsson, P. Linell and B. Nordberg (eds) Text and Talk in Professional Contexts, 187–199. Uppsala: ASLA.


Hydén, L. (1999) Talk about money: Studying the interaction between social worker and client. International Journal of Social Welfare 8 (2): 143–154. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2397.00075


IFSW (2012) Statement of Ethical Principles. Available online: http://ifsw.org/policies/statement-of-ethical-principles/


Jaspers, K. (1973) Philosophie II. Existenzerhellung. 4th edition. Berlin: Springer.


Jayyusi, L. (1984) Categorization and the Moral Order. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Juhila, K. (2003) Creating a ‘bad’ client: Disalignment of institutional identities in social work interaction. In C. Hall, N. Parton, K. Juhila and T. Pösö (eds) Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services, 83–95. London: Jessica Kingsley.


Juhila, K. (2004) Talking back to stigmatized identities: Negotiation of culturally dominant categorizations in interviews with shelter residents. Qualitative Social Work 3 (3): 259–275. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325004045665


Juhila, K., Caswell, D. and Raitakari, S. (2014) Resistance. In C. Hall, K. Juhila, M. Matarese and C. van Nijnatten (eds) Analysing Social Work Communication: Discourse in Practice, 117–135. London: Routledge.


Juhila, K., Mäkitalo, Å. and Noordegraaf, M. (2014) Analysing social work interaction: Premises and approaches. In C. Hall, K. Juhila, M. Matarese and C. van Nijnatten (eds) Analysing Social Work Communication: Discourse in Practice, 9–24. London: Routledge.


Keddell, E. (2011) Reasoning processes in child protection decision making: Negotiating moral minefields and risky relationships. British Journal of Social Work 41 (7): 1251–1270. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr012


Keddell, E. (2012) Going home: Managing ‘risk’ through relationship in returning children from foster care to their families of origin. Qualitative Social Work 11 (6): 604–620. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325011411010


Linell, P. and Rommetveit, R. (1998) The many forms and facets of morality in dialogue: Epilogue for the special issue. In J. Bergmann and P. Linell (eds) Morality in Discourse. Special issue, Research on Language & Social Interaction 31 (3–4): 465–473. https://doi.org/10.1080/08351813.1998.9683600


Luhmann, N. (1978) Soziologie der Moral. In N. Luhmann and S. H. Pfürtner (eds) Theorietechnik und Moral, 8–116. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.


Luhmann, N. (1995) Social Systems. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


Luhmann, N. (1997) Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft. 2 volumes. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.


Mäkitalo, Å. (2006) Effort on display: Unemployment and the interactional management of moral accountability. Symbolic Interaction 29 (4): 531–556. https://doi.org/10.1525/si.2006.29.4.531


Mäkitalo, Å. (2014) Categorization. In C. Hall, K. Juhila, M. Matarese and C. van Nijnatten (eds) Analysing Social Work Communication: Discourse in Practice, 25–43. London: Routledge.


Matarese, M. and Caswell, D. (2014) Accountability. In C. Hall, K. Juhila, M. Matarese and C. van Nijnatten (eds) Analysing Social Work Communication: Discourse in Practice, 44–60. London: Routledge.


Messmer, H. and Hitzler, S. (2008) Practice-based evidence – social work viewed from an interaction analysis perspective. In I. M. Bryderup (ed.) Evidence Based and Knowledge Based Social Work, 33–52. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.


Messmer, H. and Hitzler, S. (2011) Declientification: Undoing client identities in care planning conferences on the termination of residential care. British Journal of Social Work 41 (4): 778–798. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr054


Parsons, T. (1972) Commentary on Clark. In A. Effrat (ed.) Perspectives in Political Sociology, 299–308. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-682x.1972.tb00241.x


Reamer, F. G. (2012) Codes of ethics. In M. Gray, J. Midgley and S. A. Webb (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Social Work, 299–315. Los Angeles: Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446247648.n20


Sacks, H. (1992) Lectures on Conversation. 2 volumes. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.


Schegloff, E. A. (2007) Sequence Organization in Interaction: A Primer in Conversation Analysis, Volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791208


Simmel, G. (1892–1893) Einleitung in die Moralwissenschaft. Eine Kritik der ethischen Grundbegriffe. Stuttgart: Cotta.


Slembrouck, S. and Hall, C. (2003) ‘Caring but not coping’: Fashioning a legitimate parent identity. In C. Hall, N. Parton, K. Juhila and T. Pösö (eds) Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services, 44–61. London: Jessica Kingsley.


Solberg, J. (2011) Activation encounters: Dilemmas of accountability in construction clients as ‘knowledgeable’. Qualitative Social Work 10 (3): 381–398. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325011409478


Stanford, S. N. (2011) Constructing moral responses to risk: A framework for hopeful social work practice. British Journal of Social Work 41 (8): 1514–1531. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcr030


Stivers, T., Mondada, L. and Steensig, J. (2011) Knowledge, morality and affiliation in social interaction. In T. Stivers, L. Mondada and J. Steensig (eds) The Morality of Knowledge in Conversation, 3–24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511921674.002


Urek, M. (2005) Making a case in social work: The construction of an unsuitable mother. Qualitative Social Work 4 (4): 451–467. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325005058646


White, S. (2003) The social worker as moral judge: Blame, responsibility and case formulation. In C. Hall, N. Parton, K. Juhila and T. Pösö (eds) Constructing Clienthood in Social Work and Human Services, 177–192. London: Jessica Kingsley.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy